The All American Amateur Baseball Association remembers and honors the greatness of Al Kaline, the Detroit Tigers legend who spent 22 seasons as a player in the majors and more than 50 years in the Tigers organization.
Kaline died at his home in Michigan on Monday at age 85.
As a 17-year-old baseball phenom, Kaline played in the 1952 AAABA Tournament as his Maryland State Gordon Stores team defeated the Johnstown Hahn Packing entry 8-5 in front of 13,500 fans at Point Stadium on opening night of the eighth annual tournament.
Kaline batted .412 in four AAABA Tournament games as Maryland State went 2-2.
The next year, he advanced to the major leagues — never playing a game in the minors — and began a career in which he earned the nickname “Mr. Tiger.” He collected 3,007 hits and had a .297 career batting average.
Kaline was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, in 1980. He was the first AAABA Tournament alumnus to be enshrined.
The Tribune-Democrat reprinted a 2004 story the newspaper ran after an interview with Kaline, who recalled his time in the AAABA Tournament. The story also appeared in the 2019 book “A Diamond in Johnstown,” which was published for the 75th anniversary of the tournament last August.
A link to The Tribune-Democrat story: